Disease pathophysiology: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs. There are many kinds of lupus. The most common type is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which affects many internal organs in the body. SLE most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness (called flares) alternating with remissions. General symptoms associated with lupus include low-grade fever, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle aches, joint pains, fatigue.
Treatment: Treatment of Systemic lupus erythematosus includes anti-inflammatory medications for joint pain and stiffness, steroid creams for rashes, corticosteroids of varying doses to minimize the immune response, antimalarial drugs for skin and joint problems. There is no permanent cure for SLE. The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and protect organs by decreasing inflammation and/or the level of autoimmune activity in the body. The precise treatment is decided on an individual basis. Many people with mild symptoms may need no treatment or only intermittent courses of anti-inflammatory medications. Those with more serious illness involving damage to internal organ(s) may require high doses of corticosteroids in combination with other medications that suppress the body's immune system. People with SLE need more rest during periods of active disease. Researchers have reported that poor sleep quality was a significant factor in developing fatigue in people with SLE. These reports emphasize the importance for people and physicians to address sleep quality and the effect of underlying depression, lack of exercise, and self-care coping strategies on overall health.
Statistcs: Between January 1987 and December 2006, 150 Lugo residents were diagnosed as having SLE according to the 1982 American College of Rheumatology criteria for the classification of SLE. Women outnumbered men (127 [84.7%] vs. 23 [15.3%]). The mean age at the time of disease diagnosis was 46.1 ± 19.6 years. The mean follow-up from the time of disease diagnosis was 7.8 ± 4.5 years.